Perhaps you have a friend you don’t see very often because both of your lives keep running in different directions. This is the case with me and my friend Barbara. Though we live just a few houses away from each other we very seldom have the chance to get together. These days Barb is always traveling and when she does return home it seems I’m busy with something or other making it hard to connect.
Of course since Barb and I are both letter writers we do manage to keep in touch quite nicely even though we can’t often connect in person. We do this by sending each other postcards and chatty handwritten letters. Still, every now and then, not often enough, we do have each other over for afternoon tea.
Ah, afternoon tea!
Do you enjoy afternoon tea? I sure do. Though I drink coffee all through the day, when 3 or 4 o’clock comes around it’s time to stop, sit, pick up a book, and enjoy the gracious afternoon tea ceremony. This is a most welcome ritual I enjoy daily, but once a month I love inviting others to join me for tea.
Some months I invite a group of friends over transforming my tea time ritual into a party. The number of guests I invite depends on where I intend to serve tea that month. You see, I like to vary the locations for my parties. If it’s warm weather I’ll serve outside, under an umbrella, on the open porch, or at a table on the lawn. If it’s cold weather I choose the library, outbuilding or parlor because these rooms have fireplaces. In between weather suggests all other locations – the formal dining room or casual dining table or sofa in the living room, or perhaps the sunroom.
Each area suggests the use of different china, linen and food.
Inviting friends in for tea, or for any sort of entertaining, is much like staging a theatrical production. Setting the scene, choosing the food, flowers, and selecting all the other details is like a great, big, fun, art project.
Since it was a nice warm day but not too warm, and since there was no humidity in the air, nor any strong winds, I decided to serve tea under the umbrella on the patio. A recent rainstorm did do a number on the geraniums in the planter, but perfection is hard to achieve so though I do try to make things nice I’ve given up on perfection and you should too.
I baked an English Lemon Tea cake for my visit with Barbara for I thought an English goodie would be the perfect treat since I was planning to use my English china – my Laura Ashley Tea for Two set. Of course one can always pop in at the bakery and purchase a tea treat, but a little baking now and then is fun – more art.
I bet you have a dear friend as I have in Barb and I bet that friend would just love to be invited to your home for afternoon tea. Barb and I had a wonderful, relaxing in-person visit. Sure, we could’ve met in a restaurant, but there’s something very special about being invited into someone’s home. To allow people into one’s private world is quite special. I don’t think this is done often enough. Since our visit took place in my home I could show Barb the needlepoint pillows I finished for the living room and the newly painted dining room walls. Sharing always doubles the joy.
I’m sure letters will continue to flow back and forth between Barb and me for letterwriting is always a super way to share, but so is inviting a friend over for afternoon tea. I had a great time at tea and I’m pretty sure Barb did too. There’s nothing like having a friend.
I hope you’ll host a tea for two one of these days, then go on to make afternoon tea, alone or with guests, a regular thing in your life. It’s one of those simple pleasures that makes life sweet.
Don’t believe me? Try it and see for yourself.